The men’s basketball team played a near-perfect game to begin its Ivy League schedule on a high note, avenging two years of disappointing road trips to Brown.
“I was telling my teammates on the bench that they can’t really comprehend how good this win feels,” guard Javier Duren ’15 said. “My past two years, every time we came up here to play Brown, we’ve laid eggs and it’s been terrible.”
The Bulldogs (12–6, 1–0 Ivy) took control against the Bears (9–9, 0–1) late in the first half and never released their foot from the gas pedal, pulling away to win 80–62.
Yale began the game with an early scoring spurt, leading by seven points less than five minutes into the game. Brown, however, would retaliate with a 10–1 run to take the lead, with half the points coming from the Bears’ leading scorer forward Leland King. The two teams then traded baskets, knotting the game at 23 before the Elis took over offensively, ending the half on a 24–8 run.
The Eli starters were locked in from the get-go, scoring the team’s first 39 points and all but two points in the half. Yale also attempted 17 free throws, 12 coming from forward Justin Sears ’16, in the first period, which is two less than the team’s season average for an entire game. The Bulldogs had a comfortable 16 points lead heading into the locker room, up 47–31.
The Bulldogs held court during the second half. Brown was able to crawl back to within 12 points with 13:48 remaining in the half following strong play by forward Rafael Maia, who scored eight of Brown’s first 11 points in the second half. But that would be the closest that the home team ever got to the Elis.
Guards Jack Montague ’16 and Makai Mason ’18 would dominate the next five minutes, attacking Brown’s defense with lay-ups, long-range daggers and free throws. The two players combined for 17 of next 18 Bulldog points, as the lead swelled to 26, the largest margin of the game with just under eight minutes remaining in the game.
Leading 76–57 with 3:03 left on the clock, head coach James Jones turned to the bench to finish the game. When the final buzzer sounded, the Bulldogs walked off the court with its first conference win of the year.
Yale had an impressive showing in its first Ancient Eight test. Duren led all scorers with 19 points and added 10 rebounds for his first career double-double. Sears also recorded a double-double, with 15 points and 11 rebounds to go along with five blocks. Montague and Mason had 15 and 10 points, respectively, to round out the Elis in double figures.
The Bulldogs also had a strong defensive showing, limiting Brown to 37.7 percent shooting from the field and 20.8 percent from beyond the arc. King paced the Bears with 18 points and Maia added 16 points and 12 boards. No other Bear had more than six points.
The two teams will face off again in a week, with tip-off set for 2 p.m. at the John J. Lee Amphitheatre.